As of today, all of the repairs the old mule needed are complete. I’ve been retired for 7-years now and each of those years I expected to be the last for the old clunker, but it still serves dutifully. I put in a new battery (last changed in September 2008; this one is a NAPA, not a Sears), along with a new alternator (it had not failed completely but was having trouble keeping the battery charged under full load). The heater / AC fan motor had been out of service for the past couple of winters and I finally was able to cut and tear the plastic cover out of the way in order to gain access to do the replacement. Further, the original resister for the heater fan was also bad and the replacement was a different size than the original, so I had to cut a larger slot in the chamber housing in order do the installation. Naturally, doing the cutting was “blind” because it is located where nobody can see. Simply said, it was all a pain; the engineers did not design the GMC Safari Van to be easily repaired.
The odometer has passed the 174,000-mile point (it was around 143,000-miles when I retired), but I have only put a bit over 10,000 miles on the beast since November of 2010. The price of gasoline keeps us using our 2005 Chevy Cobalt for most trips; the GMC is used only for hauling and foul winter weather. Once I get the bulk of my brick, stone, and gravel finished on my landscape (hardscape), I can seriously plan to replace the old van with something a bit younger and sexier, but still able to manage vile Chicagoland winter weather.